Andre Villas-Boas finally spoken of his disappointment with Gareth Bale’s conduct today as the winger closed in on his world record move away from Tottenham Hotspur.
Confirming for the first time that the transfer was imminent, Villas-Boas said that the deal could happen “very, very soon”, revealed that Bale had said his goodbyes to Spurs players and staff, but condemned him for failing to show up for training on either Tuesday or Wednesday. Tottenham are currently considering whether to fine Bale for his unauthorised absence.
Bale is unlikely to train with Spurs at their Enfield base again and Villas-Boas made clear how unimpressed he was with the events of this week.
“I gave the player the weekend off and Monday was a day off for the squad,” Villas-Boas explained. “He is involved in a big transfer move to Real Madrid and in the end if it happens, we wish him all the best, and what he has left here is great memories.
“The fact that he has not turned up, I don’t think that is the correct behaviour. It is a position that they chose to take. It's up to the club now to decide if it's a fineable offence.
“I’m not really in control of the situation I’ve left it up to the club to decide what they want to do. Until the transfer happens the player is a Tottenham player. If there are orders for him to be here and he is not, I can only leave it to club officials to deal with it.
“It’s up to the club to decide whether or not it’s a breach of club rules. I’ve given my opinion on it, it’s up to them to decide whether they act on it or not.”
Villas-Boas also spoke again of his disappointment with Real Madrid’s conduct, but did admit they had improved since he initially criticised their speaking out about Bale.
“I showed my disappointment before and I think Carlo [Ancelotti] did extremely well because he didn't speak from that moment onwards. He should have not done it before but the fact that it was in reality and he didn't use any more arguments.”
This was the strongest admission yet from Villas-Boas that Bale was set to leave for Real Madrid, although the manager said the move could happen imminently or as late as Sunday or Monday.
"At the moment the two clubs are speaking to outline the final decisions or statements of contracts and I am not sure how much time it will take,” he said. “It could happen very, very soon. Or it might not happen so soon - so I suppose it could go to the last days or it could happen in the next two days.”
But Villas-Boas sounded confident that this story would be over soon enough.
“You wouldn’t expect the biggest transfer in world football to happen easily. Whenever they get to an agreement, end of story.”
The Spurs head coach even revealed that Bale, when he was with the squad last week, “saluted” him and the other players as he said his goodbyes.
“He has a good relationship with everybody and he has saluted the players the other day, myself included.”
While Villas-Boas would not discuss details, he did suggest it was likely to be a world record fee, exceeding the £80m that Real Madrid paid Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009.
“What is happening is a dream move for him so I think in the end this could have happened in a different way, but there will be a three way agreement for the player to go and Tottenham will accept most likely the biggest transfer in world football. In the end, if Tottenham accept it and everything goes alright it will be the end of the story.”
Spurs are continuing to look for replacements for Bale and a fee has been agreed with Roma’s Erik Lamela. The Argentine winger is set for a medical in London on Thursday, as well as Steaua Bucharest defender Vlad Chiriches.
“I have told you that we will continue re-strengthening the squad so we are looking at different positions to make us stronger. Not only those players, others as well. In the next couple of days we will have further news and i think we will see further additions at Tottenham.”
Villas-Boas also questioned how England had called up Andros Townsend for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers, with Roy Hodgson not consulting him on the choice.
“I wasn’t contacted in any way or form by Hodgson regarding the player call-up because I would’ve preferred to give my opinion on the fact that he gets caught up so soon.”
Villas-Boas brought up the call-ups of Steven Caulker, Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore last year which were not followed by any ‘continuity’.
“What I hope for is that, for such a big impact on a player, for the smile that he put on his face, for the future of Andros, hopefully we can see some continuity.”
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